Ex-head of Philly schools applies for unemployment

November 29, 2011 - 7:25 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The former Philadelphia schools superintendent who received more than $900,000 in severance pay is looking to collect unemployment.

A district spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Arlene Ackerman had applied for jobless benefits. She's eligible for the state maximum of $573 a week, based on her former salary of about $350,000.

Ackerman abruptly left the district last summer. Her leadership saw increased test scores and graduation rates but also clashes with community members, the teachers' union and elected officials.

Her $905,000 buyout was initially going to be paid using public funds and anonymous private contributions. The donors later backed out after critics blasted the deal's lack of transparency.

Ackerman's attorney tells KYW-AM that his client qualifies for unemployment because she is jobless and wasn't fired for cause.